Richmond’s ‘The Practice Space’ earns national equity award

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Richmond’s ‘The Practice Space’ earns national equity award
Dr. AnnMarie Baines of The Practice Space with award-winning speech & debate coach and MacArthur Genius award recipient, Dr. Tommie Lindsey, of James Logan High School. (Photo courtesy of the NSDA.)

By Kathy Chouteau 

Richmond-based nonprofit, The Practice Space, has been honored with the Activating Equity Award from the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA). The local organization works to elevate underrepresented voices through communication, skill development, speech and debate programs.

Founder and Executive Director of The Practice Space, Dr. AnnMarie Baines, recently accepted the esteemed award June 15 at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Phoenix. As its name suggests, the Activating Equity Award honors organizations that have exhibited a commitment to promoting equity and inclusivity in the field of speech and debate, according to the nonprofit.

The honor is accompanied by a $5,000 grant from the NSDA that will bolster the The Practice Space’s free practice events and tournaments and capacity to expand service to more Bay Area schools.

Dr. Baines said that The Practice Space is “so honored to receive this award because it recognizes the core of why we exist, which is to elevate underrepresented voices through public speaking education.” She added, “Oral literacy is key to cultivating a kinder, more thoughtful society with people who can speak clearly and listen deeply.”

The Practice Space said in a statement it has “championed equity” since 2017 by coaching after-school speech and debate programs, as well as curriculum, teacher coaching and customized workshops for organizations/executives. Since its inception, the organization has worked with more than 2,000 people ranging from Kindergarten to adulthood and is currently operating ten summer programs along with the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD).

Want to learn more? Check out Dr. Baines, Diana Medina and Caitlin Healy’s new book, “Amplify Student Voices: Equitable Practices to Build Confidence in the Classroom,” or click here.